Today I want to turn to the topic of comments.Before I get into all of my wonderful advice (I hope you’re chuckling), I would like to emphasize the girlishness of my advice. I am a woman, in case you haven’t figured that out. My pointers for leaving comments are heavily influenced by the amount of time I spend reading blogs and comments written by other women. I also enjoy reading blogs and comments written by men, however, they are VERY different from those written by women. It is my summation that many male bloggers write inflammatory posts in order to promote equally inflammatory comments. While they are fun to read sometimes, I rarely enter the fray.Generally, men can take a negative comment much better than women.Men usually do not take disagreements personally. Women, generally speaking, cannot handle a disagreement without taking it personally.Sometimes this can make commenting difficult.
I have learned about leaving comments the hard way: making one mistake after another.I’ll cover the hard stuff first.
Let’s say you disagree with another blogger’s post.What do you write in his/her comments?One of the first things you must consider is the kind of relationship you have with the blogger. If you have developed a good rapport with the blogger, then you may feel comfortable expressing disagreement. It is still a good idea to begin by emphasizing those points at which you find agreement before explaining why you disagree.As with anything, as Christian bloggers we ought to let Christ rule our comments. That does not mean syrupy sweet, but it does mean writing with humility and love.If you cannot write your comment in such a way that exhibits those qualities, do not post it. I have found that it is a good idea to write your comment, read over it more than once, and check the Spirit in you to determine if it is a comment you can leave without any shame.
If you have not built a relationship with the blogger, however, there are a few other items to consider. First, you need to evaluate the issue.Is it, as John MacArthur says, a hill to die on?How far are you willing to go in a disagreement with another blogger? How much time to you have to waste on a time-consuming back-and-forth with another blogger? I’m not advocating ignoring the post and saying nothing at all. Leave a comment, but make it short and to the point.You must realize that there will not be a winner declared at the end of the day. It has been my experience that most bloggers are settled in their beliefs and it is not likely that you will be the one to change his or her mind. It’s best to leave your comment and move on. It is never good to argue on the internet. As I said above, if you can agree with any of the post, make mention of what you agree with before explaining your points of disagreement. Be gracious and kind, let Christ rule the comment, and if your comment does not conform to Him, do not post it.
If you decide to go ahead with your comment, keep in mind how long it gets. If you find that your comment becomes long, then leave a short blurb, and let the blogger know that your response to the post is on your own blog. It’s generally considered rude to hijack another blogger’s comments section with paragraph after paragraph of your own comment. Been there, done that. It’s rude.
Another option is email. A private disagreement is the best kind. Perhaps you misunderstood the post. Perhaps the blogger did not state his or her position clearly. Either way, emailing will keep all involved parties free from embarrassment and having to make public apologies.
Finally, when it comes to disagreements, it is a good idea to read all of the previous comments. If another blogger has already written exactly what you would have written, it does no good to leave your repetitive comment. At best, you’re just taking up space. At worst, you will look dumb. You could “Ditto” what another person wrote if you feel that it is worth it to show your agreement, but it is best to contribute something unique.
Moving on to the good stuff.
Bloggers LOVE comments!Show your love for your favorite bloggers by leaving a comment on every single post. I am exaggerating, but it is true that we bloggers love comments. If you enjoy a blog, then let the blogger know. You’ll make his/her day. Also, I think we sometimes forget about the conversational aspect of blogging that makes it enjoyable and unique. Leave comments that are interesting and that add to the conversation.
Where do you answer a question someone asks in your comments section? A question posed in your comments is best answered in your comments, or in a separate post. Other bloggers may have the same question. If you answer via email, then you deprive other readers of knowing the answer. It does not make sense to go to the questioner’s blog to leave the answer in their comments on an unrelated post. It strips the answer of context and creates confusion for all of the other bloggers reading those comments.
However, if the answer involves something you don’t want the blogging world to know, use email to respond. It may be helpful to give the short answer in your comments, but you certainly do not have to. Remember, it is your blog. I know that a couple of times I have had to use email to answer a question, but I don’t always use the comments to say, “I’ll email you.” Unless, of course, if I do not have that blogger’s email address, then I have to use my comments section to leave a message asking her to email me first.
Finally, I’m likely to delete comments like this: “If you like [name of famous person], then visit my blog and order a t-shirt.” Do not use someone else’s blog to promote your own site or business, especially if your commercial is unrelated to the post. If someone is asking for advice or for help finding something, then your commercial may be helpful, but only if it is relevant and needed. I have found that comments like those only serve to interrupt any semblance of conversational flow in the comments.
The previous post has over 20 comments so far. This is proving to be an interesting topic. I can’t possibly have thought of everything, so I hope you feel comfortable leaving a comment about your own blogging rules.
Tomorrow’s post will include topics such as linking or keeping a blog roll, developing relationships with other bloggers, and maintaining your blog’s unique identity.